Bangalore, Nov 9, 2010: The disqualification case of five independent MLAs of Karnataka assembly took a new turn on Monday with two of the five voters, on whose petition the five legislators lost the assembly membership, claiming that they were forced to lodge the complaint.
The two voters on Monday filed an affidavit in the high court of Karnataka, which is hearing the independents’ petition challenging the disqualification, saying that their signatures were forcibly taken by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party leaders.
Both the ‘complainants’ said they were taken to law minister Suresh Kumar’s residence in Bangalore and the office of the speaker, KG Bopaiah. They were made sign the ‘complaints’ in the speaker’s office.
The five independent lawmakers were disqualified on October 10 by assembly speaker KG Bopaiah on the basis of the complaint by these five voters, who said these legislators had betrayed their voters by rebelling against chief minister BS Yeddyurappa.
These five independents, along with 11 BJP lawmakers, had told governor HR Bhardwaj on October 6 that they no longer had confidence in Yeddyurappa. Bopaiah disqualified all the 16 lawmakers on October 10, a day ahead of the trust vote sought by Yeddyurappa.
Yamanappa, 52, of Gangavathi taluk in Koppal district, said in the affidavit filed before the court that he was made to sign a few papers through “coercion, undue influence, mis-representation and fraud.”
He said law minister Suresh Kumar had asked him to sign a few papers, and Halappachar, MLC, made him to sign the papers at the speaker’s office on October 8.
Yamanappa added that he came to know that he had become party to the political drama through a television news bulletin.
Another respondent who had filed an affidavit, TT Nagaraj, 42, said he was made to sign an “application” for providing free education to his speech- and hearing-impaired daughter.
Nagaraj, a resident of HosadurDisga taluk in Chitradurga district said, a BJP leader, S Lingamurthy made him sign the application, and also took him to law minister Suresh Kumar’s house.
The respondent said he was made to sign 50 to 60 signatures on a booklet at the minister’s residence in the presence of two senior lawyers. Nagaraj said he was then taken to speaker Boppaiah’s office, where he was made to sign again on another booklet prepared by the speaker’s staff.
Nagaraj said he confronted Lingamurthy after realising that he was made to sign a complaint against the independents. “He (Lingamurthy) suddenly retaliated with a threat to my life and threatened to harm my family members,” he said in the affidavit.
He added that the police refused to file a complaint, saying it “would have serious implications on the government.”